How to Go Paperless With Managing Your Rental Property

How to Go Paperless With Your Rental Property Business

Proper bookkeeping is crucial to the success of any landlord.

And, as portfolios begin to build, one tenant turns into ten, and the amount of documents you must keep on hand for not only your rental properties, but those occupying them, continues to grow.

The next thing you know, your need for a paperless solution becomes dire.

You may have been toying with the idea of going paperless with your rental property business for some time now.

After all, there are many reasons why going paperless is a good idea.

Or, perhaps you are just beginning to grow your Severna Park portfolio, and have yet to think about going paperless because you simply have too many other things going on.

No matter what stage you are in with your rental property business, now is as good a time as ever to think about going paperless with regards to managing your rental property.

Regardless of how many rental properties you own, going paperless will get you one big step closer to being more organized, efficient, and as a result, more successful.

Keep reading to find out some of the key reasons making management of your rental property paperless is a good idea, and along the way learn some exceptional tips for how to get started.

 

Why Should You Consider Taking Your Rental Property Management Paperless?

Why Taking Your Rental Business Paperless is a Good Idea

It has been suggested that those taking their rental property businesses paperless have gone on to out-perform their competition.

Here are several convincing reasons why taking your business paperless is a good idea:

  • Cost Effective. Sure, you will need to invest in some equipment when it comes time to make the switch to a paperless business. A computer, scanner, and software meant for bookkeeping are all required to keep paperless documentation in order. However, no longer having to pay for printers, toners, fax machines, and paper far surpasses your initial paperless business equipment costs.
  • Environmentally Friendly. As paper consumption decreases and recycling of paper increases, the environmental effects of going paperless in America are easily seen. With each office worker using approximately 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year (that’s a whopping 4 million tons of copy paper amongst all office workers!), it is no wonder more business are striving to do their part and go paperless.
  • Data security is more important than ever. Your tenants want to know that the information you collect about them is secure from thieves looking to steal identities. By going paperless, you greatly reduce the risk of paper documents getting into the wrong hands.
  • Easy Retrieval. With the advancement of things such as cloud storage, it is not likely you will lose an important document forever. Unlike paper, which can be destroyed, lost, and never returned, so long as you conduct proper backups of your business documents, retrieval of most any document is possible.
  • Better Communication. Not only can you communicate with more people and quicker than ever with modern technology, when you communicate electronically, you also save on things such as paper and postage costs.
  • Increased Organization. Say goodbye to mixed up file cabinets stuffed with manila folders, locked boxes with lost keys, and piles of paper crowding your desk. Instead, say hello to easily organized electronic folders, all neatly tucked away in computer software that is retrievable with a quick and simple query. Being organized with a paperless system will help ensure your status as a successful landlord.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider taking your Anne Arundel County rental property business paperless.

 

How to Go Paperless with Managing Your Severna Park Rental Property

1. Electronically Share Important Documents

For documents that you need to share with your tenants, try doing the following:

  • Scan Using Your Computer. Scan and send a paper copy of the lease agreement to your tenant. Just make sure it is in a PDF file to prevent any chances your tenant may have to edit the document before signing and emailing it back to you.
  • Get a Fax Software Installed. Sometimes faxing documents is the only way to communicate. This is especially true with tenants. After all, not everyone has access to a scanner. However, faxing information is a cinch, and can be done at any local office supply store. If you prefer not to use an actual fax machine, just have the software installed onto your desktop so you can send and receive faxes via your computer.
  • Use an E-Signature Service. Uploading PDF files to specific software, complete with e-signature fields for signing, is an easy alternative to having a paper copy of a signed lease agreement. This may be especially helpful for those signing lease renewals since the tenant is already aware of what the lease agreement contains, and needs no additional explanation.

 

2. Store Electronic Documentations

Store Electronic Documents For Your Rental Property Business in Severna Park

In addition to sharing and signing documents electronically, you can easily store all of your business’ most important paperwork locally and via the cloud. Take for instance the following:

  • Store documents locally on your computer, backing up all files to an external hard drive just in case
  • Use a storage service such as Dropbox or Google
  • Save in other cloud storage services, complete with password protection to boost security measures
  • Utilize the help of your property management company’s paperless interface for collecting e-signatures, saving important documents, and sharing paperwork with tenants, all from one convenient location

 

3. Avoid Printing Everything

It is an “old habits die hard” kind of thing when it comes to making the switch from a paper business to a paperless one.

Your instinct to print everything will be strong at first. This is usually because trusting electronics to keep everything secure is a scary thought.

However, once you begin to trust the system, you will see that there is very little that needs to actually be printed and kept on hand.

Everything else can stay safe, secure, and organized in your computer, freeing up tons of office and desk space.

 

4. Develop a Filing System

Just because you are not dealing with physical paperwork anymore does not mean you don’t need an efficient filing system in place. After all, you still have to organize all of the scanned, e-signed, and shared documents.

Here are some key tips:

  • Invest in software geared towards property managers, so you have the right functionality to handle everything related to your rental properties and tenants
  • Define a naming system when it comes to your folders, files, and individual document names – consistency is key
  • Create an easy to understand subfolder system for your rental properties, individual tenants, and everything in between, such as rent collections, maintenance requests, and legal issues
  • If you work with a team, define roles and responsibilities clearly so everyone knows who is responsible for what

 

5. Deal with Online Payments

Deal With Online Payments For Your Severna Park Rental Property Business

If you are going to go paperless with your rental property business’ documents, you might want to consider going financially paperless as well.

  • Online Rent Payments. This is one of the most convenient and secure ways of collecting rent payments. Most tenants will be familiar with making payments online, as this is how many businesses operate these days.
  • Pay Vendors and Contractors Online. In addition to collecting rent online, it is a good idea to make your own payments online as well. This way, you remain consistent with your goal of being paperless and prevent issues in the future with vendors and contractors that do work for you.

 

In addition to dealing with all payments online, it is also smart to invest in some accounting software to help you balance the books more efficiently.

Utilizing a spreadsheet leaves a lot of room for errors, and leads to an auditing nightmare come tax time.

Entrust the software to help you out, and make your life easier.

 

In the end, there are many benefits to going paperless in the management of your Anne Arundel County rental property.

From saving you time and money, to keeping you extra organized and more efficient, both you and your tenants will appreciate the reward of going completely paperless.

That said, going paperless can be a huge transition, as beneficial as it may be.

 

For those looking to have someone else complete the paperless transition for them, contact Bay Management Group today. Not only can we keep all of your accounting and bookkeeping in order, we implement a paperless friendly environment when it comes to many things such as rent collection and maintenance requests.

Get in touch today and see how we can help you get your documents in order and online, while you enjoy the finer parts of being a property owner, such as a cleaner office space, positive cash flow, and more free time.


How to Determine the Amount of Your Rental’s Security Deposit

 

How to Determine the Amount of the Security Deposit or Your Harford County Rental Property

An important part of owning a rental property in Harford County is charging tenants a security deposit at the start of every new lease term.

This deposit serves as assurance that your property will be cared for during the course of tenancy.

And, if by chance your property is not cared for, this security deposit will help alleviate the financial burden that has now been placed on you to repair your property.

After all, you want to place new tenants as soon as possible, so as not to lose money. Using the security deposit includes covering things such as property damage, failure to pay rent, and expenses incurred if a breach in the lease agreement occurs.

But how do you determine the amount of your rental’s security deposit?

At some point, you will need to seriously consider how much to charge your tenants for renting your Havre de Grace rental property.

In addition, you will need to determine how much to charge them for a security deposit.

For those who are unsure as to how to determine the right amount to charge for a security deposit, check out some of these helpful tips to guide you to a final decision.

How to Determine Your Harford County Rental’s Security Deposit Amount

1. Check Maryland Law

Check Maryland Law for Your Rental Security Deposit

There is no denying there are many federal, state, and local laws applying to owning and leasing a rental property in Maryland.

Although there is no countrywide stance on security deposits as they apply to rentals, it is crucial you understand that how much you can collect in security deposits at the start of a tenancy is determined by the state where your property is located.

According to Maryland law, you are legally allowed to accept a maximum of two months’ rent from a tenant at the start of a lease term as a security deposit.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

  • If you overcharge a tenant, they are allowed to recover up to three times the amount you overcharged, in addition to reasonable coverage of attorney’s fees
  • A receipt must be given to the tenant at the time you collect the deposit
  • Failure to provide a receipt will result in a $25 fine
  • You must provide a list of existing damages, if requested by the tenant within 15 days of taking up occupancy, or else you will be liable for up to three times the security deposit
  • You must place the security deposit in an escrow account
  • During the lease, a simple interest accrual will be applied to the deposit at a rate, depending on the date the lease was initiated

It is very important that you and your Harford County property management company know that two months’ rent is the maximum amount that can be collected as a security deposit, in order to avoid legal trouble later down the road.

 

2. Evaluate Each Interested Tenant

Just because you can legally collect up to two months’ rent worth of security deposit from a tenant you are placing in your Havre de Grace rental property, doesn’t mean you have to collect that much.

Before setting an amount, consider the type of tenant you are trying to attract for your rental.

For example, let’s say your property is located in an area that boasts an average, middle class income at best.

Charging a tenant first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit worth two months’ rent, in addition to any other miscellaneous fees that may come included with renting a property from you (e.g. pet deposits, cleaning fees, and application fees), may greatly limit your tenant pool.

If you charge the maximum amount in security deposits every time you lease your property, you may find that you are excluding a group of tenants that may otherwise be perfect.

In addition, charging the maximum just because you can, may unknowingly spread your tenant too thin, leading to unpaid rent in the near future.

In order to keep your Harford County tenant turnover rates low, you might want to consider not charging quite so much up front if the tenant screening process you performed on a prospective tenant revealed an otherwise great tenant.

If their inability to come up with such a huge security deposit is the only red flag in your thorough tenant screening, they may still be a good long-term tenant.

 

3. Assess the Value of Your Property

Assess the Value Of Your Harford County Rental Property

Another consideration to make when determining the amount of security deposit you should charge your tenants is the overall value of your property.

Paired with this, you should consider how much money you might potentially have to come up with, should anything happen to your valuable rental property.

For instance, if your property has custom upgrades or comes furnished with expensive antiques or irreplaceable furnishings, you might want to charge the maximum amount in security deposits.

In addition, if your Havre de Grace property comes with lavish amenities such as major appliances, private parking, or a pool house in the backyard, again, you might want to consider charging the highest security deposit you can.

If, after evaluating the value of your property, complete with professional estimates if necessary, you feel that fixing minor damages such as a dent in the wall, scratched floor surfaces, or non-working (and top-of-the-line) appliances will cost you a large chunk of change, making sure you charge the highest security deposit will be in your best interest.

 

4. Know the Market

Nearly all tenants know the market they are entering when they are looking to lease a rental property.

This is why you too should know the market, to prevent interested tenants from going elsewhere to rent.

Knowing what other rental properties are charging in terms of rent and security deposits will help you stay competitive in the tough Harford County rental market.

After all, people want to take advantage of all that Havre de Grace has to offer, without spending a penny too much on monthly rent payments.

In addition, tenants don’t want to come up with thousands of dollars at the start of their lease term if they don’t have to.

To stay competitive and keep your rental property leased at all times, make sure you find the perfect balance of rent amounts and security deposits.

 

5. Market Demand

In line with the above-mentioned considerations is the fact that if there is a high demand for your rental property, it is probably safe to say you can charge the maximum amount in the security deposits, and still land a high-quality tenant.

If, however, your rental is not in high demand, – for whatever reason that may be – undercharging on a security deposit is one way of keeping your vacancy rate lower, and placing a tenant in your property quicker.

If you charge a lower security deposit than your competition, you effectively set yourself apart and make your similar rental more appealing to prospective tenants.

Sure, you might not have as much in the end to cover property damages, unpaid rent, and legal fees. However, the idea is to weed out problem tenants in the first place by conducting thorough tenant screening so that you don’t have to deal with property damages and other problem tenant issues.

 

If you own rental property in the Havre de Grace area and are concerned about how much you should charge tenants when it comes to a security deposit, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

Bay Management Group’s talented staff has the knowledge and expertise to draft legally complaint lease agreements that follow Maryland’s laws regarding the collection, holding, and returning of security deposits to tenants.

As Harford County’s best property management company, we can help you with all considerations, and set your security deposit at a competitive rate that will also keep you covered, should the unthinkable happen.


3 Types of Problematic Tenants and How to Handle Them

How to Handle Problematic Tenants In Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Having tenants in your Philadelphia income property that turn out to be troublesome is enough to make any property owner want to quit the rental property business and run far, far away.

However, this solves nothing.

So, rather than stick your head in the sand and hope the problem fixes itself, try to remedy the situation instead.

Now, as an experienced property owner, you are surely aware that evictions are a necessary evil when it comes to owning rental property. Every property owner hopes and prays they will never have to issue a Notice to Pay or Quit to their tenant, much less initiate the eviction process.

But, sometimes it happens.

That said, finding ways to handle problematic tenants without evicting them is always a good skill to learn if you want to become a successful landlord.

After all, evictions are costly and time consuming. They dip into your positive cash flow, and can even incite an angry tenant to cause damage to your rental property, making things far worse than you could have ever imagined.

Thus, in some cases, trying to fix the issue at hand, before starting an eviction, may work in your favor.

What it means to have a problematic tenant in your rental property is going to differ from landlord to landlord.

That’s why today we are looking at 3 types of “problematic tenants” you might have to deal with during your time as a landlord, as well as plenty of ways to handle these tenants.

 

Handling Problematic Philadelphia Tenants

1. The Non-Paying Tenant

As a successful property owner, it is imperative that you draft a solid lease agreement outlining the rent collection procedure for your tenants.

It is also just as critical that you or your Philadelphia property manager explain this procedure to your tenants prior to move-in.

Your lease should include how much is due in rent each month, and when it should be paid.

It should also have provisions related to grace periods, when a rent payment is considered officially “late,” and the consequences (including the initiation of the eviction process) for not paying the rent in a timely manner.

That said, your tenant might be withholding rent for a variety of reasons.

Maybe they just lost their job, are having money problems, or they are just upset about a maintenance or repair issue in the rental property.

This does not make non-payment of rent any more excusable in the eyes of a good property manager. However, before starting the eviction process, there may be alternative solutions you are willing to consider:

  • Create a structured payment plan that can be implemented once or twice a year, for emergencies only
  • Prorate any late fees and delinquent rent over the course of the remaining rent payments for the lease term
  • Offer your tenants the option to include roommates into the lease agreement to split the rent
  • Consider allowing your tenant the option to sublet your property to tenants better suited to pay on time
  • Explain the impending eviction that is about to initiate, and the long-term effects it will have on your tenant
  • As a last resort, allow the tenant to break the lease by simply asking them to leave– sometimes a broken lease is better than going through a grueling eviction process

 

2. A Disruptive Tenant

How to Deal With a Loud Tenant in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Dealing with a tenant that continually disrupts neighboring residents can be a headache.

And, despite thorough tenant screening, and with the help of a reputable property management company, there really is no way of being able to tell whether your future tenants are going to be disruptive.

If your problematic tenant is causing enough disruption to be annoying to others, but not quite enough to warrant an eviction, you have yourself quite a problem.

Maybe they play the trumpet, have a barking dog, throw a few rowdy parties, or fight with their spouse on a regular basis. All of these things, when done sparingly, are enough to annoy everyone, but not enough to necessarily warrant an eviction.

Here are some helpful solutions for working through this scenario:

  • Encourage your tenant and the ones being disrupted to work it out amongst themselves, without any intervention from you
  • Add a clause in your lease agreement that states after 3 confirmed complaints, an eviction will be the only solution
  • Serve your tenants a “Cure or Quit” notice, meaning they either need to stop or leave within a certain period of time
  • Get your property manager involved, and see how they might handle problem tenants that are not technically breaking the law, nor the rules of the lease agreement

It is your job to make it clear to all tenants what constitutes as being noisy or disruptive, and what the consequences for breaching those terms will be if too many complaints are made against them.

 

3. Those Not on the Lease Agreement

It is crucial that you include every non-minor living in your Philadelphia rental property on the lease agreement to avoid any kind of landlord-tenant dispute.

However, anyone who has been in the rental property business for long knows that sometimes an unauthorized resident moves into your property, and is simply never added to the lease.

This type of problematic tenant often brings with them more trouble than authorized tenants.

At least with authorized tenants, you have a relatively easy way of handling them. With tenants that are living in your property that have not signed a lease agreement, the solutions can get somewhat difficult.

Here are two positive ways in which LandlordStation recommends handling unauthorized tenants:

  • Communicate With Your Legal Tenants. Hopefully, by the time you notice unauthorized tenants are living in your property, you have built up a decent relationship with your legal tenants. If this is the case, talking directly to your tenants may be the easiest solution. Try to confirm that there are unauthorized tenants living in your property, review the terms of the lease with your tenant, pointing out that the others cannot live there unless on the lease, and even consider re-drawing up a more specific lease agreement outlining the fact that tenants not on the lease are not welcome in your property.
  • Get Some Help. If your legal tenants do not agree with what you are saying, and refuse to make the unauthorized tenants either sign the lease agreement or leave, you may be faced with getting the police involved. Although this is not something anyone wants to deal with, it may be your only option. Communicate with your legal tenants your intention of having the unauthorized tenants escorted off your property, inform them of when this will happen, and hope that your legal tenants reconsider and encourage the unauthorized tenants to leave without police involvement.

In most states, a guest staying at your rental property for a significant amount of time (typically 30 days) is only considered an official tenant if they pitch in and help pay the rent.

If they continue to stay, but do not pay rent, they are no longer a guest − but they are not a tenant either.

Instead, they are considered an “occupant” of your property.

However, an occupant of your Philadelphia rental property does become susceptible to eviction proceedings.

Although this is probably not your favorite option as a property owner, the good news is that your legal tenants will still be residing in your property paying the monthly rent, so you will not miss out on that positive cash flow.

Tenants Not On Your Lease Agreement and How to Deal in Philadelphia

As you can see, there are several different types of problematic tenants you may face living in your Philadelphia income property.

Some are easy to evict (though no property owner ever wants to take it that far), while others are more difficult to handle, depending on what the situation is.

For those that have rental property in Philadelphia that do not want to deal with problematic tenants, contact Bay Management Group today. Our property managers strive to place only the highest quality tenants in your rental property so that you rarely, if ever, have to deal with any problems.


Should You Accept Cash Rent Payments From Your Tenant?

Should You Accept Cash Rental Payment For Your Prince Georges County?

There are many ways you can collect rent from your Prince George’s County tenants.

And, while you may not place much thought into your accepted forms of payment, the ways in which you collect rent may be more important than you think.

Being able to collect rent on time every month, from every tenant you have, is the key to becoming a successful landlord.

In addition, being able to manage this cash flow coming in each month is going to impact whether you profit from your rental property business or not.

Some forms of payment are difficult to record, and have the tendency to create landlord-tenant disputes. On the other hand, other forms are extremely easy to document, since payments are made electronically.

The problem is, not all tenants are equipped to pay rent online, nor do they necessarily want to.

In fact, many tenants want to pay their rent in person with a personal check, cashier’s check, money order, or even cash.

But should you cater to your tenant’s needs, and accept payment in whatever way best suits them?

Today we are going to look at some of the top ways you can collect rent, and discuss whether they should be on your list of acceptable forms of payment. And of course, cash payment is top on our list to discuss.

 

Top 4 Ways to Collect Rent in Prince George’s County

 

1.     Cash

Accepting cash as a form of payment can be tempting. There is no risk of a bounced check, and you don’t have to wait for payment to clear.

However, this can be one of the riskiest types of payment to accept from Bowie tenants wanting to pay their rent.

Cash does not leave a paper trail like other forms of payments do. This can come to haunt you, should your tenant up and disappear mid-lease.

In addition, cash is easily lost or mishandled.

In fact, it can create a situation where your tenant is adamant they left you the full rent amount in an envelope delivered to you, when that is not really the case.

Then, while fighting it out in court, it will come down to a “he-said-she-said” situation that may not fall in your favor.

After all, there is no proof either way that the full amount was in fact ever in the envelope.

If you are determined to accept cash rent payments despite the above, here some tips to help you avoid problems:

  • Have your tenant deliver the full cash amount in person to you or your property management group each month
  • Make sure the money is counted out loud in front of the tenant, every single time
  • Provide your tenant with a receipt of payment complete with the tenant’s name, property information, date, and amount collected
  • Always sign the receipt, and keep a copy for your own record keeping

The problem with collecting cash from tenants, even if you follow the above-mentioned tips, is that it can be very time-consuming. This is especially true if you have many Bowie rental properties.

In addition, your property management company may not allow tenants to drop off cash rent payments with them.

The good news is, drafting into your lease agreement a “no cash” policy is relatively easy to do, especially if you have your property manager draw up the provision for you.

Just don’t forget to add in the acceptable ways tenants can make payments, so they understand exactly how to pay you each month.

 

2.     Credit Cards

Credit Cards Are a Great Option for Accepting Rent Payment Prince George's County

Closely related to cash when it comes to risk is accepting rent payments via credit card. This is because it is very easy for a tenant to pay their monthly rent to you, and then immediately turn around and make a claim with their credit card company that the charges were fraudulent.

In the event that this happens, you will not have the full rent amount until the situation is remedied. And, there is never a guarantee the decision will fall in your favor.

Though a tenant will not be able to do this month after month, you shouldn’t risk this when it comes to the last payment of the lease term.

Keep in mind however, that if you do want to accept credit card payments you can easily set up a PayPal merchant account, or something similar, and accept online payments that way.

This is much more secure, and the paper trail is established for you, though there is still the chance your tenant will dispute the charges.

In addition, payment gateways such as PayPal will charge you a small transaction fee per payment received, which can eat into your positive cash flow.

 

3.     Personal Check

The problem with collecting personal checks from your Bowie tenants is that there is no way to verify that the full rent amount is available in the tenant’s bank account until you try to deposit the check.

This means you will then have to deal with a bounced check, a delay in rent payment, and the challenge of recouping the actual rent from your tenant.

If you do accept personal checks, always make a photocopy of each check received, and document bounced checks to protect yourself, should a dispute over rent payments ensue.

 

4.     Online Payment Portals

Accept Rent Via an Online Portal in Your Prince George's County Rental

Accepting rent via an online payment portal is one of the best things you can do as a successful landlord. Here is why:

  • Tenants have their own secure account online they log into
  • Online accounts clearly indicate how much is due, and when
  • Payments are automatically withdrawn from your tenant’s bank account
  • Tenants typically receive confirmation of payment for their own records
  • Insufficient funds will not allow a payment to be made – something your tenant will have to deal with
  • Online payment portals are secure and connect directly to a tenant’s bank account, rather than a credit card
  • You don’t have to do any extra work
  • Payment records are documented for you

As you can see, there are many benefits to accepting rent payments online.

And, despite what a small percentage of your tenants might say about this method, most people nowadays have become familiar with paying their bills online, and don’t have a problem with doing so.

 

Rent collection is a major part of owning Prince George’s County rental property. After all, collecting rent is how you make money on your investment property.

There are many different options when it comes to deciding how to collect rent from your tenants. And, while each situation is different, there are some general rules to follow, if you want to avoid any kind of dispute later on in your tenant’s lease term.

If we at Bay Management Group can convince you of anything, it would be to avoid accepting cash rent payments at all costs. The risks far outweigh any convenience cash payments provide you or your Bowie tenants.

If you are in the market for an experienced property management company to help you with rent collection procedures for your Bowie rental properties, contact Bay Management Group today. We provide secure ways for your tenants to make their monthly rent payments, clearly outline at the beginning of each lease term what is expected of each tenant, and have a strict late-payment policy in place to protect you from non-paying tenants.


7 Ways to Ensure Your Potential Tenant’s References are Real

How to Ensure Your Tenant's References Are Real

Any responsible Baltimore City property owner knows the importance of tenant screening when it comes to placing tenants in their property.

You want to make sure the tenant you are considering has no criminal background, has verifiable income that can cover the monthly rent expenses, and has a good credit score.

Since most rental applications require prospective tenants to list personal and professional references, along with contact information regarding their employers and past landlords, it is equally important that you do not skip verifying these references during the screening process.

Though it shouldn’t come as any surprise, plenty of potential tenants fabricate their references in an attempt to secure a rental home.

And, while this may seem somewhat harmless, the truth is, tenant references have the potential to reveal some very helpful information about your tenant that the paperwork may not.

But how do you know if the references listed on an application are in fact real?

To help answer this question, we will look at some of the best ways you can ensure that your prospective tenant’s references are legitimate.

 

Verifying Your Baltimore City Tenant References

1. Interview the Tenant First

Interview Your Tenant First For Your Baltimore City Rental Property

One thing you might not think about when looking to verify a potential tenant’s references is to talk with the tenant first.

This initial conversation can be brief and should include questions such as:

  • Where are you currently employed?
  • What is your monthly gross income?
  • What might your boss or former employers say about you as an employee?
  • What are your monthly debt obligations?
  • What do you think your previous landlords would have to say about you?

Interviewing a tenant before calling their references will give you a heads up on anything that may seem amiss about the tenant.

It also lays a good foundation for comparison between what the tenant says, and what the references say.

You never know what a tenant’s reference is going to say. Having an idea beforehand what may be said will alert you to any discrepancies right away.

 

2. Explain the Consequences of Falsifying a Reference

Some prospective tenants are going to lie about their references, no matter what.

Unfortunately, that’s just part of being in the rental property business.

However, explaining that any falsifications discovered on a tenant application, references included, will lead to an automatic rejection of the application, may cause some tenants to think twice before lying.

Being clear upfront about the consequences of a dishonest tenant application may help to discourage tenants from putting any fake information on the application.

It also gives the tenant a look at how serious you are about leasing your property. It gives the impression that you stand firm, act as a professional, and will not tolerate problems of any kind.

 

3. Ask for Pay Stubs

Ask Your Tenant For Pay Stubs With Their Rental Application

Sometimes tenants do not have a good relationship with their employers and have someone else, such as a friend, act as their boss on the other end of the phone when a property owner calls in to verify an employer reference.

One great way to get around this, and better verify the tenant’s income in the process, is to ask for a few pay stubs, and possibly even employment verification documents.

With this information on hand, you can conduct your own research, and see if the reference listed is in fact a real person.

In addition, you can reach out to the employer’s HR department and ask to be put in direct contact with the tenant’s employer, rather than call the number listed on the reference sheet.

This will help diffuse any “fake boss” calls.

 

4. Always Call References

Always Call Your Tenant's References in Baltimore City

It is very easy to forge a written reference, either on paper or via email. In addition, you may not get a real feel for how a reference feels about a tenant when reading a prepared statement.

It is best to call all of your prospective tenant’s references and talk with them one-on-one.

This question-and-answer type of conversation may yield some red flags, or further confirm a potential tenant as a good fit for you.

In addition, speaking in person with someone will help solidify that your tenant’s references are real.

 

5. Be Specific in Your Questioning

However, just because you call a tenant’s references and speak to someone directly, does not mean they are a real reference.

Thus, when it comes to interviewing a tenant’s previous landlords, there are specific things you can start off with during the conversation to help verify you are speaking to a landlord, as opposed to a buddy pretending to be one.

RentSpree recommends prefacing the conversation with a statement that you are simply going to ask some generic questions first, to verify that they are an actual landlord.

RentSpree then goes on to say you should ask things like what type of license is needed to become a landlord in that particular region, and what type of inspections are required to lease property.

A real landlord will be able to answer these questions easily.

 

6. Ask for More References

There is nothing stopping you from asking a tenant’s reference for a secondary reference.

In fact, this tactic is very useful when verifying employer references. The more people you talk to about the potential tenant, the better insight you will gain into what type of person, and tenant, they are likely to be.

Start by thanking the reference for their time, and then kindly ask for the contact information of another person that works closely with the tenant.

If you are immediately given information, you can almost guarantee your tenant’s employer references are real.

 

7. Hire a Property Management Company

Hire Property Management Company For Your Baltimore City Rental

An experienced property manager will have had run-ins with tenant references of all kinds.

They are best suited to tell when someone is being dishonest, and when the true character of a potential tenant is being revealed.

There is no doubt that a skilled property management company will be able to handle tenant screening better than anyone else will, yourself included. Their job is to place high quality tenants in your rental property, so that you continue to employ them for their services.

Not taking tenant screening, specifically reference checks, seriously would do their business more harm than good.

That’s why relying on a quality property management team to screen your tenants for you is often your best bet for ensuring a tenant has given you real references.

 

In the end, verifying that your Baltimore City tenants have real references on their rental application can be tough.

It will often take some extra research on your end, and a little bit of gut instinct to decide whether a reference is telling the truth. Luckily, however, there are good ways of getting around some issues that tend to pop up with fake tenant references.

If you are in the Baltimore City area and own rental property that needs a tenant, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you with your tenant screening and placement needs.

Not only do we have a thorough tenant screening process in place that includes contacting all potential tenant references, we also have a 12-month tenant warranty in place that promises to re-lease your property for free, should your tenant be evicted within the first year of leasing your property.

So, contact us today and take advantage of this great warranty, among many other things.


What to Do If Your Tenant Files for Bankruptcy

How to Handle Tenant Bankruptcy in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

The thought of your Philadelphia tenant filing for bankruptcy no doubt brings to mind some very serious situations that you do not want to deal with.

For example, if you have a tenant in your property that is claiming bankruptcy, how can you expect them to pay you rent each month?

Worse, perhaps they have timed their bankruptcy just right so that you cannot legally evict them, and get paying tenants in your property.

So, what are you to do?

If you own a Philadelphia rental property and are searching for some guidance when it comes to a tenant filing bankruptcy, read on.

Today we will discuss exactly what bankruptcy is, and some things you should (and shouldn’t) do if your tenant decides to file for bankruptcy while residing in your property.

 

What is Bankruptcy?

What is Bankruptcy With Your Philadelphia Rental Property Tenant

Bankruptcy is a process allowing the courts to examine whether to relieve a person of their outstanding debts, so that they are no longer legally required to pay them.

It is a way for someone drowning in debt to wipe the slate clean and start over.

The most common types of bankruptcies in the United States are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

 

Chapter 7

This type of bankruptcy, if granted, will release you from having to repay any of your debts.

You are allowed to keep key assets such as your home, your car (if used for work), equipment you use for work, Social Security checks, pensions, veteran’s benefits, welfare, and retirement savings.

On the other hand, things like cash, bank accounts, stock investments, coin or stamp collections, a second car, or a second home can be liquidated and used to repay some of the lenders you owe money to.

This is true even if your bankruptcy is approved and your debts are cleared.

Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy in the United States. It accounts for nearly 62% of all individual bankruptcies each year.

However, if your assets qualify you for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are not allowed to file a Chapter 7.

 

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcies include repaying some of your outstanding debts, while having others forgiven.

This type of bankruptcy is mainly for those who have high annual incomes, and do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or for those who wish to keep all of their property.

With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a person’s debts may not exceed a specific threshold.

In addition, you are given a 3-5 year repayment plan. It is during this time that you must complete the repayment plan in order to have your debts fully forgiven.

 

What Happens When Your Philadelphia Tenant Files for Bankruptcy?

What Happens When The Tenant Files For Bankruptcy in Philadelphia

When your Philadelphia tenant files for bankruptcy, the court will issue what is called an automatic stay.

This means that all collections against a tenant must stop without the court’s permission.

This also means that you are no longer allowed to collect a monthly rent from your tenant.

Unfortunately, this means that your tenant is now a non-paying tenant, and there is nothing you can do about it.

But does this stay apply to eviction proceedings?

 

The Old Bankruptcy Laws

Prior to 2005, it was illegal for a property owner to initiate eviction proceedings against a tenant for non-payment of rent if the tenant had successfully started bankruptcy proceedings before a Notice to Pay or Quit was given, and the time period to pay (typically 3 days) had elapsed.

This meant that property owners had no way of recovering their loss in rent payments, and no way to replace the non-paying tenant with one that could pay. This also meant that tenants had a loophole for getting out of having to pay rent, at least for the time being.

In order to continue forward with eviction proceedings against a tenant filing bankruptcy, a property owner would have to petition the federal bankruptcy court to “lift,” or remove, the automatic stay that was in place so that they could evict the tenant.

If the court agreed to lift the stay, you were then permitted to start eviction proceedings against your tenant.

If however, you did give proper notice to your tenant, before your tenant initiated the bankruptcy filing, you were allowed to follow through with the eviction proceedings if your tenant failed to pay their rent or move out.

 

New Bankruptcy Laws

In 2005, President Bush signed what is called The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 in an attempt to reform the bankruptcy system.

While this law stretched across many bankruptcy situations, it most notably affected how property owners could deal with tenants that were in the midst of filing for bankruptcy.

As a way to prevent tenants from initiating automatic stays, and thus forfeiting their obligation to pay their rent, this new law stated that filing for bankruptcy would no longer delay or stop eviction proceedings.

This meant that property owners, regardless of whether their tenant was filing for bankruptcy, could now provide proper notice to pay or quit the property, and initiate an eviction if the tenant did not pay up.

 

Things to Avoid When Your Tenant Files for Bankruptcy

Things Not to Do When Your Tenant Files For Bankruptcy

There are a few things you should refrain from doing if you find out that your Philadelphia tenant is filing for bankruptcy:

  • Using the Tenant’s Security Deposit. Using a tenant’s security deposit to cover your losses in rent will amount to you being paid before all other creditors owed, which is not allowed. The courts decide who is paid what, and when. Do not take it upon yourself to pay yourself (as tempting as that may be), because it is against the law.
  • Using New Rent Amounts to “Pay-off” Delinquent Rent. If your tenant was behind on rent, underwent the entire bankruptcy proceeding, and decided to keep the lease intact as a provision of their bankruptcy terms, you cannot use their rent payments to make up for old ones that went unpaid. This is a major violation of bankruptcy law, and you could find yourself in a lot of legal trouble. If your tenant decides to stay in the property and pick up paying the rent moving forward, talk to your bankruptcy attorney about how to recoup losses from missed rent payments.

 

What You Should Do When a Tenant Files for Bankruptcy

While there are several things you are not allowed to do while a tenant is undergoing a bankruptcy, there are things you can do to help remedy the situation.

  • Manage untimely rents immediately, initiating eviction notices once a tenant fails to pay
  • Obtain bankruptcy counsel as soon as your tenant files to protect yourself and learn your rights
  • Do not accept partial rent payments after a Notice to Pay or Quit was given if you suspect a tenant is about to file for bankruptcy – doing so reinstates the lease agreement, and you must again provide proper notice to pay in order to move forward with an eviction

Lastly, learning the tenant’s options for dealing with the lease agreement after a bankruptcy filing has been completed is a great way to prepare for the aftermath of a bankruptcy situation:

  • Lease Rejection. The tenant may wish to reject the lease going forward, so long as the bankruptcy court and property owner are properly notified. The tenant is then no longer required to pay rent. Any unpaid rent becomes unsecured debt of the bankruptcy estate, meaning it has been forgiven and you are out of luck.
  • Lease is Assumed. Your tenant may resume the lease after asking for permission from the bankruptcy court. They then have to be able to meet all prior obligations (g. unpaid rent) and any future obligations, meaning they must be able to pay the rent going forward.
  • Lease Assignment. Your tenant may choose to assign the lease to another party. In order for this to work, the tenant must ask the court for permission, pay all past due rent, and ensure the new party will be able to fulfill the lease agreement.

 

Dealing with a tenant that is on the brink of filing for bankruptcy is a frightening thing.

There is a lot at stake when it comes to a tenant that stops paying to live in your rental property.

Luckily, there are some solid laws in place protecting property owners from tenants that find themselves facing a wall of debt.

 

If you own property in the Philadelphia region and do not want to deal with tenants filing bankruptcy, contact Bay Management Group today. Not only are we skilled in placing high quality tenants in your properties, we have strict rent collection procedures in place to evict non-paying tenants right away.

Don’t deal with the hassle of understanding bankruptcy law as it applies to your rental property. Instead, employ us to help you every step of the way, should the worst happen.


What Fees to Expect When Financing a Rental

What Fees To Expect When Financing a Rental Property in Montgomery County

You may look at the price of a potential Gaithersburg investment property, and think you’ve got a fairly good deal.

However, do not be fooled – more lies beneath the surface.

Besides the price tag of a rental property, there are numerous miscellaneous fees you can expect to pay when financing a rental.

But do you know what those fees are?

If you are looking to invest in a rental property in the Montgomery County area, and are curious about what fees to expect while financing that property, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the lowdown on what you can anticipate paying while financing a Gaithersburg rental property, so that you don’t walk away more empty-handed than you expected to after this major purchase.

 

10 Common Fees to Expect While Financing a Rental Property

 

1. Private Mortgage Insurance

If you put a small down payment on a rental property (typically less than 20% down), it is likely you will need to purchase what is called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

This policy will protect your lender from losing money, should you end up foreclosing on the property.

The problem with this added fee is that sometimes the private insurer providing you PMI requires you to pay an entire year’s worth before closing on the property you are purchasing.

This can add up quickly, and adds a sizeable amount to an already expensive purchase.

 

2. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Is a Fee To Expect In Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Another common type of insurance that is typically required while purchasing a rental property (and is recommended even if it’s not required), is homeowners insurance.

This policy will protect you should your tenants, or some unforeseen disaster, damage the structure of your property in any way.

While homeowners insurance can be paid monthly throughout the year, thus reducing your upfront costs at the time of financing your property, you will still need to have a policy in place before closing on the rental, which means some sort of payment will need to be made right away.

 

3. Title Insurance

Title insurance is a way to protect yourself in the event the seller of the property you are purchasing did not in fact own the property, yet sold it anyway.

This kind of insurance protects both you and your lender from any losses arising from ownership disputes.

 

4. Processing Fee

Another Common Fee is the Processing Fee With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

When you apply for a mortgage with a financing company, there are application fees that you are expected to pay.

These fees do not typically surpass $500, though it is important you keep track as you continue through the process.

 

5. Origination Fee

In addition to paying a processing fee, you will be responsible for paying an origination fee to the bank or lender you are financing your Gaithersburg property through.

This is your way of paying them for creating the loan you are being approved for.

 

6. Credit Report Fees

Include Credit Report Fees With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Just like other major purchases people make that come with loan terms (e.g. cars, boats, and major appliances), your lender will want to run a thorough credit check on you before even thinking about loaning you money to finance a rental property.

This also includes any courier or postage fees. Do not expect the bank to pay for all of this for you.

 

7. Survey Fee

Drawing up a precise legal boundary of the property you are trying to purchase, as well as including other details related to the property’s land, must be done before the closing of an investment property, if an existing survey does not already exist.

 

8. Appraisal Fees

An appraisal consists of a professional appraiser evaluating the property you are purchasing, and estimating its market value.

You must have an acceptable appraisal before you can finance a rental property.

Why?

A good appraisal is in place so that lenders do not give away too much of their own money.

In short, lenders need to know that the property you are purchasing is worth more than what you are paying for it. This way, should housing prices drop, lenders can easily recover their money.

 

9. Inspection Fees

Not all lenders require a general inspection of the property you are about to finance.

However, with things such as mold and pests being such a costly problem to deal with later on, it is sometimes worth the money to have a thorough inspection performed at the rental you are about to finance.

The last thing you want to deal with is a landlord-tenant dispute over who is responsible for pests in a rental.

In addition, it is your legal responsibility in Maryland to ensure that your tenants have a safe and habitable home to live in, free of mold or lead paint.

 

10. Recording Fees

Recording fees are fees you will pay the county or city to officially record all of the real estate documents that are drafted during your investment property purchase.

In Montgomery County, you will pay $6.90 per thousand dollars financed, $10.00 per thousand dollars financed over $500,000, a 1.5% transfer tax (1.0% to the county, 0.5% to the state), and a property tax of $0.883 per hundred dollars assessed.

 

Financing a rental property in Montgomery County is no easy feat.

You do not simply look at the price tag of the property and pay that amount.

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers do not understand this process in full, and can become very surprised, and discouraged, during the closing process.

Do not let this happen to you.

If you are looking to invest in a Gaithersburg rental property, or perhaps have just invested, and are facing not only the reality that you now have a mortgage to pay, but also that you have no tenants in your property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can place a tenant in your rental property within 30 days or less of being hired on to help you.

In addition, we charge a low 8% monthly management fee, which is amongst the lowest in both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

 

Self-managing a rental property is a tough gig after just going through the exhausting process of financing a new property.

Let us at Bay Management Group help you manage your property for a low monthly management fee, and place high quality, high paying tenants in your rental so you can start to recoup some of those fees you paid during the financing of your property.


How Important Are Move-In Inspections in Baltimore County?

importance-move-in-inspections-baltimore-county-rental-property

No matter how thoroughly you screen your Dundalk tenants, having your property management company follow a strict move-in process is a must. In fact, the success of your rental property business relies on a comprehensive move-in, successful rent collection, correct handling of maintenance issues, and proper eviction processes.

In order to avoid unnecessary disputes both during and after a lease term, your property management company should conduct routine inspections of your rental property. More specifically, right before a tenant moves into your property, and takes up residence with all of their personal belongings, you and your property manager should conduct a routine move-in inspection.

The importance of a good move-in inspection can never be understated. Designed as a way to protect you, your investment property, and your new tenants, move-in inspections are a crucial element to a successful lease term.

Read on to find out the top reasons why you should be conducting proper move-in inspections of your rental property at the start of every new lease term. Additionally, find out exactly what should happen during a move-in inspection, so that all parties are protected and satisfied with the rental property’s initial condition.

 

Why Conduct Move-in Inspections of Your Dundalk Rental Properties?

why-landlords-should-conduct-move-in-inspections-dundalk-rental-property

The general purpose behind a move-in inspection is to document the existing condition of your Baltimore County rental property before a tenant moves in. This documentation serves as your property’s baseline condition at the time your tenant moves in. In addition, it will be used for comparison at the end of the lease term when your tenant moves out.

Here are 8 key reasons a move-in inspection is so important to the success of your lease term:

  1. It provides factual proof of the condition of your rental prior to move-in that can be used in court as evidence, should a dispute arise
  2. It reveals maintenance issues that you were unaware of that you are responsible for fixing before a tenant moves in
  3. It dictates where any damage to the structure of the property exists, so your tenant will not end up responsible for repairing that damage at the end of the lease term
  4. It serves as a solid foundation when it comes to deducting from your tenant’s security deposit at the end of the lease term
  5. It demonstrates your tenant’s satisfaction of the condition of your property at the time of move-in
  6. It is used throughout the tenancy for subsequent routine inspections to ensure further damage has not occurred to your property
  7. It sets the tone at move-in that you and your property management company take leasing a property to tenants seriously
  8. It helps to build a better relationship with your tenant from the start

 

How to Conduct Better Move-in Inspections and Avoid Future Disputes

Now that you understand the importance of performing move-in inspections every time a new tenant moves into your Dundalk rental property, look at some of the best ways to conduct move-in inspections, so that everyone is on the same page come the end of the lease term.

Conduct an Actual Walk-Through

conduct-walkthrough-tenants-baltimore-county-rental-property

Do not rely on your tenants to document the damage they see in your rental property prior to move-in. Go ahead and give them 3-10 days to add to the walk-through list anything either you or your property manager missed during the initial inspection.

However, in order to document a true move-in inspection, you or your property manager need to be present with the tenant as you view the condition of the investment property.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you perform the walk-through with your tenant:

  • Let your tenants add their observations
  • Print everything legibly
  • Determine whether something is dirty, scratched, broken, or in poor condition
  • Note specifics whenever an issue is found
  • Make sure to observe any health or safety hazards that you find such as mold, mildew, pests, or fire hazards, as these must be remedied immediately
  • Document everything that is in good condition for later comparisons

 

Have All Parties Sign in Agreement

After conducting the physical walk-through of your property, make sure all parties in attendance – you, your Dundalk property manager, and your tenant – sign the inspection form prior to the tenant actually moving in.

Having signatures agreeing to the condition of your property will prevent any disputes at the end of the lease term, long after your tenant has lived in your property for some time and the conditions have changed.

This way, should you end up in a conflict with your tenant about how the security deposit is being put to use, you can remind your tenant that they agreed beforehand that the property was handed over in one condition, and that they are returning it in an entirely different condition.

 

Indicate the Condition of the Flooring

note-condition-flooring-baltmore-county-move-in-inspection

It is very important that you note on the move-in inspection the conditions of your property’s flooring. While normal wear and tear is bound to happen over time, if any of the flooring is destroyed during the tenancy, your tenants can be held responsible. This is only the case if you have the move-in inspection on hand to prove the property’s original condition.

 

Take Pictures if Possible

Not only should your Dundalk property’s move-in inspection include a written checklist detailing the condition of the property, it should also include photographs, if possible. If you take photos or video of your rental home prior to the tenant moving in, you will have surefire proof that damage was not pre-existing, and that your tenant is responsible for repairs.

It is worth noting that taking pictures of the rental property while in the presence of the tenant is a good idea. Not only does this show that you are serious about the move-in inspection and the state of your investment property, it helps assure your tenant that you are not trying to outsmart them.

 

In the end, conducting an effective move-in inspection of your entire Baltimore County rental property is always a good idea. Being sued by your tenant over a security deposit dispute is not something you (or your tenant) want to deal with. In addition, paying for damages that were indeed your tenant’s fault is not something any property owner wants to be faced with either.

If you live in the Dundalk area and own a rental property that is about to occupy a tenant, contact Bay Management Group to help you with all of your property’s move-in inspection needs. Not only can we help conduct move-in inspections of your property alongside your tenants and have all of the correct forms filled out, we can discuss any questions or concerns your tenant may have regarding the condition of the property.


The 7 Most Common Reasons Landlords Use Property Management Companies

Most Common Reasons People Use Property Management Companies

Many times those who begin investing in Philadelphia rental property set out to do it all themselves.

After all, being a property owner and leasing rental properties is the true path to a passive form of income, right?

Well, not exactly…

Though managing rental property can be fairly hands-off under the right circumstances – if you own one or two properties, have long-term tenants in each, and have very little upkeep or repair issues – investing in rental property can sometimes be considered a passive form of income.

However, the truth is, most property owners are not so lucky.

In reality, most property owners come to quickly realize that self-managing a rental property, especially more than one, is a lot more work than they anticipated.

That’s where employing property management in Philadelphia comes in handy.

If you are not sure whether hiring a property management company to help you with your rental properties is for you, check out these 7 reasons landlords use property management companies, and see if you agree.

You might actually need a property manager sooner than you think.

 

7 Surefire Reasons You Need Property Management in Philadelphia

 

1. You Lack the Necessary Experience

The experience you thought you needed to manage your Philadelphia property, and the experience you actually need are often very different from each other.

Having a handle on the basics of investing in rental property may be enough to get you started, but not enough to push you towards more success.

If you lack the experience needed to stay on top of managing your rental property, consider hiring a property management company to help.

Keep in mind, this does not mean you must relinquish all control.

This just means you will have someone on your side that knows all the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures for running a successful rental property business.

 

2. After-Hours Calls Are Not Your Thing

After Hours Calls May Not Be Your Thing With Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Receiving a call in the middle of the night because a pipe busted in your rental property is not something any property owner wants to deal with.

However, without a property management company to help with 24/7 maintenance and repair issues, these are the kinds of things you will have to deal with.

Employing a high-quality property management company will benefit you in many ways.

For example, enjoy having:

  • A qualified handymen crew on call to take care of any maintenance or repair issues
  • Licensed and insured contractors to deal with major issues without too much extra cost
  • The peace of mind that your phone will not be ringing off the hook for every little property issue

 

3. Better Tenant Placement

Property managers in Philadelphia know many things when it comes to tenant placement:

  • What the market is like at any time, including how high you can charge for rent
  • What the expected tenant pool for certain areas will look like
  • How to lawfully screen tenants thoroughly, and avoid placing bad tenants
  • What it takes to make a property appealing to the highest quality tenant types
  • How to draft lease agreements that will please both parties
  • How to conduct move-in inspections, and what to look for
  • How to set clear expectations prior to move-in to avoid any later disputes

As you can see, tenant screening as a whole, and the procedures that follow such as lease drafting, move-in inspections, and creating the perfect tenant welcome package, are all things best carried out with someone who does it on a regular basis.

This way, you don’t have to.

 

4. Evictions are Tough to Handle

Evictions Are Tough to Handle In Your Philadelphia Rental Property

No one gets into the rental property business hoping to see an eviction through.

However, despite your best efforts, there is always a chance that a terrible tenant that needs evicting will be placed in your Philadelphia property.

That said, having a knowledgeable property management team by your side, guiding you through all of the steps is priceless.

There are many federal, state, and local laws to follow when it comes to evictions, not to mention the cost and stress an eviction piles on top of you.

Knowing you are in good hands is something you, much like other property owners, want.

Most management teams step in and take care of evictions for you. That’s why so many property owners jump at the thought of hiring a property management company, just in case.

 

5. Advertising Vacant Properties Takes Skill

Marketing a vacant property is not something all property owners know how to do well.

This is why employing a property management company that knows how to advertise to the right target audiences is key to keeping your turnover rate low (with well-placed tenants), and your vacancies short (because there will be times your property is unoccupied).

 

6. Distance is an Issue

Distance is An Issue With Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Sometimes you own rental property that is far from where you actually live.

Even if just self-managing one property, this can quickly become a hassle every time you need to stop by your rental and check on things.

The truth is, you will never be able to pinpoint exactly when you will be needed at your rental property. Maintenance issues, routine inspections, and many other property related issues are bound to pop up from time to time.

Hiring a property manager that is within reasonable driving distance of your rental is a great way to handle caring for your property and tenants.

Plus, it will save you the frustration of being stuck in traffic, and of course, save you time.

 

7. You Want to Preserve “You” Time

Chances are, unless you have been in the rental property business for a long time, you have other work commitments while you climb your way to enough financial freedom to quit your day job.

And, if you are lucky enough to not have to work a separate job, and being a property owner is all that is required of you, then that’s great!

However, this does not mean you don’t have friends, family, and alone time that you would rather devote your time to.

If you want to enjoy the things that come with everyday living – lunches with friends, vacations with family, and free time to read a good book into the wee hours of the night – without getting call after call from tenants, contact your local property management company and sign them up to help you, starting now.

Call Property Management Company in Philadelphia

There is a lot of work that goes into self-managing a Philadelphia rental property – work that many property owners just don’t have the time, energy, or desire to put in.

If this sounds like you, and you are in the Philadelphia area, contact Bay Management Group today.

We understand the time and effort it takes to be a successful landlord. And, since we offer full-service property management, with monthly management fees lower than any of our competitors, we are confident we will make your life much more enjoyable as we handle all of the above-mentioned things, plus much more.

From vacancy advertisement to lease drafting, and routine inspections to rent collections, we have you covered so you can reap the benefits of being a Philadelphia landlord, without having to deal with all the day-to-day tasks.


How to Minimize Firework Risks at Your Rental This Fourth of July

Minimize Risks This Fourth of July at Your Baltimore County Rental Property

It’s that time of year again; that time when Americans all over the country get together with their family and friends to celebrate the freedom they enjoy each and every day.

While the Fourth of July is often a time of excitement, good food, and of course, fireworks, property owners often cringe at the thought of their Baltimore County tenants taking part in anything firework related near their rental property.

And rightfully so.

Despite the known risks that come with fireworks, people are still careless enough to rack up nearly 1,300 structural fires and over $40 million dollars in direct property damage each year.

And let’s not forget the safety concerns that come with fireworks. In 2015, there were over 11,000 emergency room visits attributed to firework injuries.

In response to those startling statistics, today we are going to look at ways in which you can minimize firework risks at your rental property this Fourth of July.

You do not want your property, and tenants, to become part of the annual firework report.

 

How to Minimize Firework Risks at Your Rental This 4th of July

 

1. Inform Tenants About the Law

Inform Tenants About Firework Laws in Baltimore County

For those familiar with Fourth of July celebrations in the state of Maryland, it is likely you are already aware that the use of fireworks is illegal.

That is, unless they are part of a public display for which the State Fire Marshal has granted a permit.

This means, in order for your tenant to display any type of firework at your rental property, they must have the proper permits and insurance to do so.

In addition, it is illegal for your tenants to purchase legally sold fireworks in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, transport them across state lines to Maryland, and shoot them off.

However, each county differs when it comes to things like hand-held and ground-based sparkler devices.

For example, toy pistols or guns that pop, hand-held sparklers, non-aerial and non-explosive ground-based sparkling devices, and “snakes” are permitted for backyard use in Baltimore County without a permit.

Letting your tenant know at the start of their lease term what the Baltimore County firework laws are is beneficial for many reasons.

To start, it will prevent your tenant from conducting any type of illegal activity on the premises of your rental property.

It should also prevent any structural damage to your property, and ensure the safety of your tenants and any guests they may have over.

 

2. Require Renters Insurance

Even though the fireworks that are allowed in Baltimore County don’t seem dangerous, you never know what could happen. It doesn’t take much to cause some serious damage to your rental property.

Plus, this holiday involves playing with fire – literally.

And, unless you are planning on heavily monitoring your rental and your tenant’s behavior on the holiday (which is not a good idea), there really is no way of stopping your tenant from making a poor decision.

That said, you should require your tenants get renters insurance before moving into your rental property.

Here’s why that’s a good idea:

  • Renters insurance covers your tenant’s personal belongings in the case of fire or smoke damage that can result from a backyard firework display
  • Any type of structural fire or smoke damage will fall under your tenant’s renters insurance first, rather than your homeowners insurance, if they are found to have been negligent and at fault
  • Should someone become injured while on your property, damage something, or want to sue your tenant, their renters insurance will cover it
  • Additional living expenses are often covered, should your tenant become displaced because of damage due to a fire

 

By requiring your tenant to get renters insurance (which is, by the way, very affordable), you reduce your responsibility, and add an extra layer of protection for yourself, and for your investment property.

Combined with the homeowners insurance you surely have on your rental property, should the worst happen, you are covered.

 

3. Give Your Tenants Some Safety Tips

Provide Your Baltimore County Tenants With Fire Safety Tips This Fourth of July

At the time of move-in, it is always a nice gesture to give your tenants a welcome package. This may include things like a local map, essential toiletries, a gift card to a local restaurant, and any important contact information you want your tenant to have on hand.

However, another great thing to include is a firework safety checklist, should your tenant actually get a permit from the state to set off the fireworks.

Not sure what to put on the checklist?  

Here are some great tips brought to you by the National Council on Firework Safety:

  • Always obey all local laws regarding firework use
  • Only allow responsible adults to supervise all firework use
  • Never consume alcohol while using fireworks
  • Light one firework at a time, and quickly move away
  • Never attempt to relight a dud
  • Never use homemade fireworks
  • Always have a bucket of water, sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Use fireworks outside and away from the property’s structure or landscaping
  • Never let children play with fireworks
  • Do not bring your pet near fireworks
  • Do not aim fireworks at anyone or anything
  • Never light fireworks in a container of any sort
  • Always call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency

 

Firework Safety is Key For Your Baltimore County Tenants

In the end, while the Baltimore County laws greatly limits the fireworks your tenants can use on your rental property (or any property for that matter), it is better to be safe rather than sorry, and advise your tenants of how to practice firework safety.

If you are looking for a property management company to help you with your Baltimore County rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you place high quality tenants in your property that are less likely to break the law and shoot off illegal fireworks during the Fourth of July. In addition, our experienced property managers can draft legally compliant lease agreements that require your tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving into your property.

The Fourth of July is a fun time —it is a time to celebrate the freedom we are so lucky to have. Worrying about your rental property and the safety of your tenants should not take away from this special holiday’s excitement.

Let Bay Management Group help you minimize the firework risks at your Baltimore County rental property, so you too can enjoy the summer’s hottest holiday.